Emanuela Spanò, Marco Pitzalis

Habitus and habitat: conflict and complicity in Neapolitan peripheries

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: habitus, habitat, territorial stigmatization, space, capital of auto- chthony, space, conflict/complicity

This article is drawn from a qualitative research study focusing on the experience of young people in two Neapolitan neighbourhoods; all the subjects are engaged in forms of cultural and social mobilization in local associations. By analysing their trajectories, this contribution therefore aims to explore the relation between habitus and habitat in the creation of a specific standpoint and interest for social actors. Moreover, social and civic commitment are the expression of a political habitus and of an ethos rooted in practices and meanings shared collectively through situated and lasting social experiences. A habitus is also constructed within the young people’s own family and community history. Due to their commitment, the «web» of the stigmatized neighbourhoods takes on its own form and the fragmented stories between generations gain a possibility of being recomposed. Through these experiences, social actors re-elaborate external stigmatizing representations and create collective forms of social and symbolic capital. In order to account for this process, we mobilize the notion of capital of autochthony (Renahy, 2010), which helps in understanding why local symbolic resources can explain the desire to stay and not to leave. In fact, we argue that it is the spatial dimension of social resources, the relationship between habitus and habitat, that anchors each project, each individual aspiration, to what gives them their value and a shared social sense. Finally, complicity and conflict form the conceptual couple that allows us to articulate the analysis in the different dimensions of the social and symbolic space observed.

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